Tag Archives: HMRC

Landlords Snubbing Registration Face £50,000 Fines Landlord Law, Latest Articles

Thousands of property investors face fines of up to £50,000 for ignoring laws requiring them to sign-up to a landlords register in Scotland.

No-one is sure how many rogue landlords are ignoring the law – but the worry is they face a double whammy of tax and fines if they sign the register.

The authorities north of the border suspect many are not giving their details to council because they are concerned the information will also go to HM Revenue & Customs. Continue reading Landlords Snubbing Registration Face £50,000 Fines

HMRC Task-Force Tracks Overseas Property Tax Cheats Latest Articles, Tax & Accountancy, Tax News

A 200-strong team of investigators is targeting overseas property owners to check they are not tax cheats.

HM Revenue and Customs has warned wealthy UK residents with homes and land overseas that the team is checking whether they have paid enough tax on rents and capital gains.

The task force can call on finance, accounting and property experts from across HMRC to hunt tax cheats.

The investigators are using sophisticated and innovative risk assessment techniques to identify wealthy individuals avoiding and evading taxes and duties. Continue reading HMRC Task-Force Tracks Overseas Property Tax Cheats

HMRC Handles 1,000 Tax Fraud Emails Every Day Cautionary Tales, Latest Articles, Tax & Accountancy

Property (mortgage) under inspection for fraud

"HMRC have issued reassurances over phishing emails"

Fraudsters are sending out thousands of bogus emails to try to trick taxpayers to give out their bank details in return for HM Revenue and Customs refunds.

HMRC fraud investigators are handling around 1,000 reports of scam email every day and close down 100 fraudulent web sites run every month.

The problem is escalating as the number of reports has surged by 300 per cent in the last 12 months.

The phishing emails look to come from HMRC but links lead to a clone of the tax man’s web site. Continue reading HMRC Handles 1,000 Tax Fraud Emails Every Day

Mortgage Lenders and HMRC Team up to Fight Fraud Latest Articles, Property Market News, Tax & Accountancy

Property (mortgage) under inspection for fraud

"HMRC to Tackle Fraud Alongside Mortgage Lenders"

Mortgage lenders and the tax man are teaming up to beat fraudsters by checking income claims against tax returns and payroll records.

Banks and building societies can now ask HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to verify a borrower’s income by cross-checking loan applications with official income records.

The new move is part of a growing battle against mortgage fraud that costs the industry around £1 billion a year.

The Mortgage Verification Scheme has run as a pilot since the March 2010 Budget between the Council of Mortgage Lenders, the Building Societies Association and HMRC. Continue reading Mortgage Lenders and HMRC Team up to Fight Fraud

MPs slam HMRC for poor customer service Latest Articles, Tax News

The tax man is under orders to beef up customer service after an investigation by MPs revealed the frustration of taxpayers dealing with HM Revenue and Customs.

MPs sitting on the Treasury Committee have reported on the administration and effectiveness of HMRC – and found the tax man wanting in several areas. HMRC blames PAYE mix-ups for the problems though.

The committee fears that if HMRC does not take steps to improve customer service, the organisation will lose respect with the public.

MPs identified three main concerns:

  • Taxpayers face unacceptable difficulties contacting HMRC by phone during peak periods
  • HMRC taking too long to respond to post
  • Too much focus on online contact that excludes taxpayers without internet access

“There is considerable dissatisfaction among the public and tax professionals with the service from HMRC,” said the report. “This dissatisfaction has been building for some years now, and was reported on by our predecessors in the last Parliament.

“We do not accept the Department’s explanation that these problems are primarily the result of reconciling of multiple PAYE tax years at once. There is a serious risk that if communicating with HMRC becomes too time-consuming, difficult and expensive, respect for the tax system, and with it voluntary compliance, may be undermined.”

The committee has a number of recommendations to improve customer service for HMRC, including:

  • Improving service from contact centres
  • Looking at alternatives to online contact
  • Making sure staff cuts do not impact tax expertise and administrative efficiency
  • Halting the sending of threatening letters to taxpayers who have not done anything wrong

Staffing and morale in HMRC have also come under scrutiny – and the MPs suggest a lot of effort is needed to improve working conditions.

“HMRC continues to face major difficulties with staff engagement. While staff remain dedicated to their work despite the pressures HMRC is under, they have little confidence in the leadership of the department or that change will be for the better,” said the report.

“This has been a long running problem. While senior management are aware of the problem and have made efforts to improve engagement, there has been little evidence of any positive impact to date.”

Dealing with a tax inspector’s calls… Latest Articles, Tax & Accountancy

Ringing HM Revenue and Customs to try to find a sensible answer to a pressing tax problem is never easy.

Promising to answer calls when they ring is not the same as giving a reasonable answer to a taxpayer’s questions.

Landlords suffer as much as anyone else from the frustration of dealing with HMRC.

Many tax advisers have a checklist for speaking to HMRC:

  1. Note the date and time of the call and number dialled
  2. Take the name of the person dealing with the call
  3. Note the conversation and clarify any points
  4. Write to the tax office referring to the call and detailing the conversation. Ask them to contact you in writing if they do not agree with your notes of the call
  5. File a copy of the letter

Taxpayers who are unsure of the status of inquires with HMRC can take a backdoor approach that will deliver results called a subject access request (SAR) under the Data Protection Act.

HMRC must disclose any relevant information held about a taxpayer if an SAR is received.

A tax inspector does not have to reveal information about an ongoing investigation, but the file will include details of correspondence, transcripts of telephone conversations and other personal details.

To find out what the taxman has on file, a taxpayer must write to the data protection officer at the relevant office where the files are held.

Specify the precise information required, like copies of correspondence and telephone calls.

HMRC can charge a £10 fee for each SAR made.

Landlords can make an SAR request to any organisation registered under the Data Protection Act, including banks, mortgage lenders, councils and credit card issuers.

SARS are particularly useful for taxpayers who have received specific advice not to file a form or tax return from a call centre but then pick up a fine or penalty – spending £10 to go through the file could save £100 or more.

What Property Investors Have to Tell the Tax Man Latest Articles, Tax & Accountancy, Tax News

Person with a headache sitting on a Tax sign

Steve Sims offers property investors tax advice

Many property investors fail to tell the tax man about their property businesses and face mounting fines and penalties.

Property investors run two types of business – renting and trading property. Each one has separate and specific tax rules.

A property rental business covers buy to let, houses in multiple occupation and holiday lets. Continue reading What Property Investors Have to Tell the Tax Man

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